Abstract 1539: National Study of Awareness of Cardiovascular Disease Risk among Middle-Aged Women in Korea
Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (e.g., obesity, hypercholesterolemia, and metabolic syndrome) and morbidity are more prevalent in middle-aged women than in men of the same age in Korea. CVD related deaths rate number one among Korean women and have surpassed morbidity in men since 1992. This study, the first national Korean survey to focus on CVD in middle-aged women, aimed to assess current awareness and knowledge of CVD risk factors, as well as risk reduction activities among Korean middle-aged women.
Methods and Results: A face-to-face survey of a nationally representative random sample of Korean women aged 40 – 64 years was conducted in July-August, 2006. Of the 1004 respondents surveyed, 47.9% were pre-menopausal, 8.6% peri-menopausal, and 43.5% post menopausal. CVD risk awareness, knowledge, and preventive actions to decrease risk were evaluated by use of a standard questionnaire, which included a modified version of the AHA National Study on Women’s Awareness of Heart Disease Questionnaire (1997, 2000, 2003). Awareness and knowledge of CVD among respondents were very low in terms of considering CVD as the most worrisome health problem after menopause (5.2%), perceiving CVD as the leading cause of death in women (19.8%), identifying HDL cholesterol as beneficial (8.5%), and LDL as harmful (6.7%). While many respondents reported checking blood pressure in the past year (88.2%), more than half did not receive blood glucose (50.3%) or total cholesterol testing (67.8%). Few respondents could correctly identify health ranges for fasting blood sugar (10.8%) or total cholesterol (4.5%). Respondents reported various lifestyle measures to prevent CVD, and while education and economic status were positively associated with taking preventive actions, body mass index was negatively associated.
Conclusion: Nurses have been involved in general health promotion in Korea but this study underscores the need to specifically target middle-aged women to promote general awareness and knowledge of CVD risk, particularly interventions that focus on women who are overweight and of low socio-economic status.
This work was supported by the 2006 Health Promotion Research Fund from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.